This post is mostly for students planning on doing their internship in Kenya. Most specially, students from UIC doing their Masters in Public Health.
Being a Global Health student and Environmental Health focusing in water quality, I had to fulfill both requirements from both concentration. So, I applied to the UIC SPH Kenyan Program. The program varies depending on your focus. Since, I am focusing on water quality specifically, I want to learn about water quality in an African county (new potential career path), I was placed with SWAP– Safe Water and AIDS Project in Kisumu. This NGO has other non-water related project as well, so, it is a well rounded organization. I think UIC students do their internship in Western Kenya, mainly Kisumu due to the relationship built with organization by UIC.
Anyways, the school took care of basic worry (housing and food). We did a home-stay with a family that has worked with a professor from UIC, Dr. Bob and UIC SPH. The home stay provides meals, except during weekdays when we are at work. You can decide to take lunch from home if you don’t want to buy food outside. But if your work takes you out of the office constantly to do fieldwork, it is best to buy food outside. Besides, you need to eat local food to truly enjoy the country.
Anyways, the only thing not covered by the school is when the budget tip comes in.
Upon arriving at Nairobi, we got picked up by an arranged contact that has worked with Dr.Bob. So, we didn’t spend money on taxi.
He showed us part of Nairobi. P.S. Nairobi is a little bit more expensive in terms of eating out.
- Giraffe sanctuary: 1,000ksh entrance fee (~$10) for people older than 25 years old.
- Elephant sanctuary : 1,000ksh
- Lunch (depending on what you ordered- >800ksh (>$8 depending on where you go).
2 months Budget in Kisumu
- Transport and Food combined for 2 months= $500
- Flight: $1,200maximum. If you spend more than that. You booked late.
- Visa: Kenyan visa (can be bought in Kenya $50 or East African visa $100 if you plan on going to other East African countries.
- Activities: Safari trip ($300 max, look for student discounts when booking. You don’t need luxury style of touring). Other trips: ~$250 if you take buses to your destinations. Total $550
- Miscellaneous: making/buying an African print outfit, buy gifts for people, etc. If you budget your spending well, you don’t need extra money. Be smart about how you spend. Live within your means.
TOTAL = $1,000 + FLIGHT
Make sure you have an account/card in the US that don’t charge international fees at the ATM. If you do, it’s best to bring what you need as exchange the cash as you need. DO NOT EXCHANGE YOUR MONEY AT ONCE BECAUSE RATES FLUCTUATES and the bank withdrawal gives you less than a money exchange center. So, change your dollars according to your needs.
Two months is almost over and I have spent about $700 and that is due to buying gifts for everyone in the US. Hehe.
So, don’t freak out if this is your first international work. Due to the good relationships built by the school, we were received well. I work with hardworking and funny people at SWAP and they are more than willing to help. Don’t be lazy and do your work. Converse, be friendly and open-minded and I promise that you would not want to leave Kenya after your internship experience is over.